Russell A. Berman

Senior Fellow

Russell A. Berman, the Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a co-chair of the Working Group on Islamism and the International Order.

Berman specializes in the study of German literary history and cultural politics. He is a member of both the Department of German Studies and the Department of Comparative Literature at Stanford. He has served in numerous administrative positions at Stanford.

He is the author of numerous articles and books including Enlightenment or Empire: Colonial Discourse in German Culture (1998) and The Rise of the Modern German Novel: Crisis and Charisma (1986), both of which won the Outstanding Book Award of the German Studies Association (in 2000 and 1987, respectively). Hoover Institution Press published his books Freedom or Terror: Europe Faces Jihad (2010) and Anti-Americanism in Europe: A Cultural Problem (2004). His other books include Fiction Sets You Free: Literature, Liberty, and Western Culture (2007), Cultural Studies of Modern Germany: Representation and Nationhood (1993), Modern Culture and Critical Theory: Art, Politics, and the Legacy of the Frankfurt School (1989), and Between Fontane and Tucholsky: Literary Criticism and the Public Sphere in Wilhelmine Germany (1983). He has also published numerous articles in the Hoover Digest, most recently "Spoken Like a World Citizen" (spring 2011). His writings have also appeared in Defining Ideas and Advancing a Free Society.

Berman has received many honors and awards including a Mellon Faculty Fellowship at Harvard University (1982–83), an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (1988–89), and the Bundesverdienstkreuz of the Federal Republic of Germany (1997).

Berman received his BA in 1972 from Harvard and his doctorate from Washington University in 1979.

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Recent Commentary

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Target Assad’s Enablers

by Russell A. Bermanvia Hoover Digest
Monday, July 9, 2018

The Syrian civil war teems with outside actors. American strategy must reckon with their ambitions—and check them.

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Saudi Arabia Or Iran In US Strategy

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Effective US policy toward Saudi Arabia requires familiarity with the intricacies of its history and society, of course. The legacies of the foundation of the state, the traditional collaboration of political and religious leadership and the burdensome privileges of the extended royal family still weigh on the Saudi present, even as new circumstances develop, especially the ambitions of the young generation, eager for the reforms promised by the bold leadership of the Crown Prince.


Too Bad For The Victims: Europe Still Fails To Protect Public From Terror

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Hill
Thursday, May 31, 2018

The attack in Liege, Belgium on Tuesday is being treated as an act of terrorism and rightly so. It began when the suspect, now identified as Belgian Benjamin Herman, assaulted two female police officers from behind, stabbing them multiple times and, after seizing their weapons, killing them both in cold blood. Such is terrorist bravery.

Portrait of Karl Marx
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At 200, Marx Is Still Wrong

by Russell A. Bermanvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Marxism was never about achieving an egalitarian society. It was about the pursuit of raw power.


Latest Moves Show Trump Grasps The Realities Of The Middle East

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Hill
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

During the past week, U.S. policy in the Middle East has taken on a sharper profile due to the coincidence of two major events. On May 8, President Trump announced the withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, better known as “the Iran deal." Less than a week later, on Monday, the American embassy opened in Jerusalem.

Portrait of Karl Marx

Marx’s Kapital Crimes

by Russell A. Bermanvia Politico
Saturday, May 5, 2018

Two hundred years after he was born, Karl Marx is still causing controversy. The donation of a statue by the People’s Republic of China to commemorate the anniversary of his birth Saturday in the small German city of Trier has rightly provoked strong opposition from those who recall the suffering that communist regimes inflicted on their populations.

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The New World Order

by Russell A. Bermanvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The political emergence of Eurasia has major implications for U.S. foreign policy.

Analysis and Commentary

Anti-Zionism And The Humanities: A Response To Saree Makdisi

by Cary Nelson, Russell A. Bermanvia Fathom Journal
Thursday, April 12, 2018

This lengthy essay by two leading US professors challenges the world of academic publishing. They identify the symptoms of a ‘widespread institutional corruption that extends far beyond the debates over the Middle East’: the move of disciplines and journals from textual interpretation and scholarship to politics and polemic; and the fundamental breakdown in the peer review process in the humanities and interpretive social sciences, as publishers with a strong anti-Zionist bias submit manuscripts to highly sympathetic anti-Zionist readers who laud the manuscript’s ‘courage’ and recommend publication, creating an anti-Zionist echo chamber increasingly free from some traditional scholarly controls, including fact-checking.

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Ousting Assad

by Russell A. Bermanvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, April 5, 2018

There are powerful moral and strategic reasons to end a butcher's rule.

Russell Berman
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Russell Berman, Senior Fellow on Islamism and American Strategy

by Russell A. Bermanvia Hoover Institution
Thursday, March 22, 2018

Russell A. Berman, cochair of Hoover’s Herbert and Jane Dwight Working Group on Islamism and the International Order, looks at the contemporary world stage with a focus on the relationship of Islam, global institutions, and American policy.